I saw your mom today; she looked as though 30 years had passed without you instead of only four.
I asked how she’s been; she sighed and said that they lost the house and the room you once filled
And that your father who never really was walked out and has a new family now so she’s all alone with your little sister.
She said she misses you every day, and that she never stops thinking of you.
She says she sees you in everything; in your sister, the neighbor kids, the soccer games, the leaves, her dreams.
She stops talking only long enough to look down at her mud covered running shoes.
“Sorry.” She says, “I don’t know what to say to you” follows and now it’s me who looks at the ground.
“You two were always the best of friends. I was certain you’d get married someday.” She continues, nervously playing with the coin in her left hand that reads “4 months, clean and sober.”
I’d heard the rumors that she started drinking once you passed, never really believed them though. I guess I have to now that she’s standing in front of me.
“I guess it’s been a rough few years for the both of us.” She continues after a minute of studying the coin. “I was sorry – am sorry about your brother. He was such a good kid, always so nice to Cody.”
Now it’s me who doesn’t know what to say, half-smiling I reach up, pulling out my necklace, my reminder of the three people I’ve lost since high school started.
“I didn’t know you still wore that.” She says, trying not to choke on her words. “I see you’ve added to it.”
Nodding, I tuck it back into my shirt “It’s been helpful, having part of them near.
She apparently understands because she’s nodding, “I still have the keychain you two gave me for Mother’s Day that year.”
We both smile at the memory of that sunny day at the park that seems so long ago.
“Were you ever able to find your mother?” she asks, trying to look into my eyes
Nodding, I say a small “yes” and reach again for the necklace
Sighing an understanding “oh” she pats her hand on my shoulder and quietly she says “so much loss for such a young kid.”
Her phone beeps twice making us both jump, looking down she says “I’m going to be late for a – uh appointment” knowing she means either AA or therapy, I nod and turn to go back to work, stopping me she says “Lucas, do you still have my phone number?”
“Please call sometime. I’ve missed you.” She says looking up to meet my eyes
“Yes, ma-“ correcting myself I continue, “yes, Ms. B”
smiling she steps closer, almost considering hugging me but settles for patting my shoulder again
“Bye. Ms B” I say as she turns to walk back to her car
“You know better than that Lucas James.” She jokingly scolds.
Laughing, I reply “Bye momma B”
“Bye kiddo.” She says finally smiling.
When she reaches the door she turns back and says “call” while pointing her finger at me
Nodding I raise my hand in goodbye until she leaves my sight.
Exhaling, I return to work still thinking of and missing you like it just happened yesterday.
Next month will start the anniversary of the hardest 8 months of my teenage life.
Next month will be 4 years since I knocked on your door and found you there bearly breathing, bearly alive, but still smiling
I never did figure out exactly what pushed you to the brink
Never really thought to ask while sitting in the hospital with you as you slipped in and out of consciousness for 3 days.
I know she asked though, I think she got an answer too.
I wonder if she’d ever tell me, I wonder if I could ever bear to ask
I wonder if it’s what I think, but most of all I wonder if she’ll ever forget.
I still remember our plans: make it to graduation, move to Florida then New York, get terrible jobs waiting tables until we made it in writing or music, and eventually be better parents than both my mother, father and your father ever were, and most of all finally be happy.
Of all the things I wonder, I wonder where we’d be now the most.
I wonder if we would have made it. I wonder if the last few years would have been easier.
I wonder if I would still see the world the way I do now.